Days 488-491, 13-16 Oct '15, Paphos Mosaics, Tombs, Noffee & Nuts
Finally recovered from Nicosia, we made Thursday 15th Oct "Paphos Day". We hadn't intended to explore that far afield - but they had a free walking tour at 10 am! As it turned out - that was a complete bust. The guide was the second most boring woman we've ever come across and it became only the 2nd time we skived off a tour (in almost 30 odd walking tours worldwide). Freed from the chains of boredom we headed to the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos. A bit of a misnomer as it was never the tomb of any kings... just that the posh end of town. Probably high ranking officials. The rock-cut tombs were hewn from the ground as early as the 4th century BC and continued to be used during the Roman era of Paphos - around 300 AD. Absolutely stunning and far too many photos taken. Can only aspire to a final resting place as majestic as this. We knew Paphos was going to be a big day out, so had our picnic lunch in the car and then made our way to the Kato Paphos Archeological Park. AKA "The Mosaics". Right down on the waterfront and near the harbour these are touted as the best mosaics in the Eastern Mediterranean. And it's true. Superb. Even had a small Roman theatre/odeon and the ruins of a Byzantine castle from the 13th century thrown in. Long, hot day soaking up history and we finished it off with a stroll along the Paphos promenade, a quick look in the castle and a coffee icecream. Speaking of coffee, we'd just finished the big bottle of decaf we brought with us from Spain, so popped into a supermarket. Huge coffee section and to be honest, huge prices. We figure 100gms would be more than enough for a week and picked up a jar of the least expensive coffee there. Little jar, orange label, couple of steaming cups of coffee pictured. As it turned out when we got it home though, tasted nothing like coffee. Couldn't even figure out what it did taste like. Ignoring the front for a minute we read into the ingredients listed in the very small English printing on the back. "Roasted grain coffee sourced from barley and wheat". WTF? Ahhh... that would explain the ears of wheat included in the picture on the front. So that is us. Officially drinking (and learning to like) our "Noffee" (as the not-coffee has become known). Eventually we finished gadding about in Paphos and our feet were about to drop off. We couldn't make the drive home though without a visit to Petra tou Romiou / The Rock of the Greek. We took the coast road and stopped at this fabulous sight (pictured above). This area is also known as Aphrodite's birthplace - possibly due to the foaming at the base of "her" rock. The more interesting story (and getting down to the nuts and bolts of the matter) is the mythology. Way, way, way back in the day, Gaia (Mother Earth) asked one of her sons (Uranus) to sort out his old man, her husband, Cronus. Depending on the version, Uranus lay in wait and set upon Cronus - cutting off either part of his lower body... or his testicles. Which then fell into the ocean. From which foaming of ocean ensued and out stepped the maiden Aphrodite - known by the Romans as Venus. She had a huge cult following in Paphos which the Romans eventually quashed - but the Cypriots are still very proud of their island as the birthplace of the Goddess of Love. Well - that's it for Paphos - photos of the Mosaics, Tombs and Nuts (of Cronus) can be found in todays album. Two more day trips are planned before we vamoose - Troodos Mountains and Kourion Ruins and also Limassol and Kolossi Castle (HQ of the Knights Templar). Then it will be off to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for a day and a night and on to Turkey proper for the next two months. Must remember to breathe in... breathe out...